So, I’m getting stuck in my current story. Like…REALLY stuck. I’m starting to envy co-authors and their writing process, because sometimes, it is just immensely helpful having two heads corroborating on a story. I’m personally strong in writing character-driven stories. I love character-driven stories, so it is natural that I’d focus most on my characters when writing. This can be great. It can also be BAD. I’m not the best when it comes to plot–especially when that plot becomes very complex and full of subplots. My husband, however, is brilliant at that kind of thing.
Last night, while we were out at a restaurant sharing dessert, we talked through some of my story issues. He knows exactly how to ask the right questions to make me go, “Hmmm…”
“What motivates that character?”
“Why would that character decide to do this when it is obvious they should do that?”
“That doesn’t make any sense, why don’t you do it this way?”
“Bad guys are bad. Kill them! Good guys good. Save them! Really? We can do better than that…”
Now, my husband is an AMAZING, brilliant, computer programmer guy. He works with systems all day and complex logic-type issues at work. He’s great at pointing out plot holes and areas where stories are weak. This is FANTASTIC for me. I’m not always great at seeing those sorts of things. I mean, c’mon, folks…I loved the Avatar movie, which is pretty much Space-Pocahontas, right? Yeah. Like I said, I sometimes need some outside help when it comes to crafting and appreciating deep, complex plot intricacies.
He has challenged me to really flesh out those ideas BEFORE I finish my first draft. He’s absolutely right. I need to figure out why the villain is doing what he’s doing. I need to figure out why Character B wants to help Character A. Motivations, motivations, motivations. Now, those things may seem like they’re wholly character-oriented, correct? WRONG. Motivations affect the plot, because they affect the choices (actions) made (progression). I sense a future of sitting in my living room floor with a giant whiteboard and marker. #idontthinkthiswhiteboardisbigenough…
What problems do you have in your own writing? Any areas where you are particularly weak? What are you doing to help make those areas stronger? Ever bring in any outside help?